Spurs: Mourinho previews Chelsea clash
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho believes that Thomas Tuchel can be successful in his new role as Chelsea manager. The German was announced as Frank Lampard’s replacement last week and is preparing for his first big test against Spurs on Thursday evening.
Mourinho, who famously led Chelsea to back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006, has seen his Tottenham side drop out of the race for this year’s domestic crown in recent weeks.
The north London club have won just two of their last five league matches but could see their hopes of a top-four finish reignited with an important victory over Chelsea.
Speaking in Wednesday’s press conference, Mourinho praised the decision of his former employers to appoint Tuchel, claiming that the 47-year-old is well placed to succeed with Chelsea’s star-studded squad.
“Chelsea is Chelsea,” he said. “They changed the coach but they did not change the players. There are lots of very good players, lots of potential in that squad.
“They had a good coach with Frank, who was doing a good job with them, they have a good coach now with Tuchel.
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“He was coming from a league that you cannot compare with the Premier League, but he is used to working with players of high calibre, used to dressing rooms with important players. He will fit well in a club like Chelsea.”
Tuchel has claimed seven major honours during his managerial career to date, including an impressive domestic treble last season with former club Paris Saint-Germain.
The German also came agonisingly close to sealing the Champions League title, but the French champions were beaten at the final hurdle by winners Bayern Munich.
Mourinho suggested that Tuchel can still be considered as a world-class manager despite having never lifted European football’s most prestigious trophy, as long as he can rise to the challenge of the Premier League with Chelsea.
When quizzed on the factors that separate the great from the good, Mourinho replied: “Winning the Champions League is history. There are many great managers that never won the Champions League. Sometimes it happens.
“With players it is a little bit the same thing. For me one of the most incredible players of the last 20 years, Ibrahimovic, still amazing player, who is 40 and he never won the Champions League.
“So that can happen and it is not because of that you are not a phenomenal player or coach.
“What I think makes a coach to become elite is to be successful in the top leagues, to be successful in leagues in a different dimension.
“I am not talking about Thomas, the French league is a very competitive league, apart from PSG, because they play in a different league.
“The biggest challenge for a coach is to work in the best leagues. Our league, in this moment, is the most challenging one.”
Tuchel is yet to taste defeat as Chelsea boss and will be hoping that his honeymoon period extends into Thursday evening for the trip to Spurs.
The two clubs played out a dire goalless draw in their last meeting at Stamford Bridge in November.
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